Ben Proud makes it three in a row as he retains 50m Freestyle Commonwealth title

Ben Proud retained his 50m Freestyle Commonwealth crown yet again as he topped the podium at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

After winning gold in this event at the Glasgow 2014 Games and on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018, this was another example of Proud’s legacy.

The 27-year-old was unstoppable as he surged home to take his second gold medal of this year’s competition.

He touched the wall in 21.36 – just 0.01 slower than he did four years ago.

Proud’s teammate, Lewis Burras, pushed him all the way as he earned the silver medal to make it a one-two for England.

Burras set a new personal best time of 21.68 which was just 0.32 behind Proud. Canada’s Joshua Liendo Edwards took bronze in a time of 22.02.

My redemption year

On his victory, Proud said: “Third time – I don’t know if any other Commonwealth swimmers have done it, so this is another legacy swim for me.

“To have done it with another English boy on the podium next to me, it’s something very nice. I managed to hold off the young guns for one more year so for me, I’m super happy.”

“I think it’s a year ago since I was giving my interviews and burst into tears because of a bad swim at the Olympics. So much has changed.

“This is really my redemption year. Something has clicked and I’ve finally understood how to swim quick in the finals. There’s still more to polish in that race.”

Proud described his teammate, Burras, as a ‘force to be reckoned with’.

He added: “I knew at the start of this year there were going to be a couple of guys in striking distance of touching me out.

“I’m just lucky I’ve managed to get back to a form which I’ve not been in for a while, so that’s a good feeling.

“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect after the 50 fly and I don’t want to say anything too soon but I’m going to be around for a little while, but I think 50 Freestyle’s going to be my pure passion.”

He is one of one

After adding another silver medal to his Commonwealth tally, Burras described the feeling and the motivational cheer from one youngster as he stepped up to the blocks.

He said: “It was incredible to walk out and hear the roar of the crowd. There was a little girl who shouted, ‘Go England’ and I just pointed to her and I knew I was ready to go.

“The race felt good, it’s a PB, so to end a meet of ups and downs like this, I couldn’t be happier.

“He [Proud] is one of one. I was at Plymouth for a year when I was 13 and remember when we were competing in a meet in Sheffield.

“He finished the race, came up to me and gave me the time of day. Nine years later, I get to stand next to him on the podium listening to Jerusalem. It’s incredible.

“At the end of the day, this is just a hole in the ground filled with water and there are a lot bigger things in the world, but the foundation of what swimming and sport provides makes some good character.”